First-time unemployment insurance claims in Oklahoma have surged this week as fallout from cratering energy prices and the COVID-19 crisis take hold here, but state officials say they have over $1 billion saved for just this sort of emergency.

Initial unemployment claims in the state for the first three days of this week alone have more than tripled the number filed all of last week, an official with Oklahoma Employment Security Commission said.

The state received 1,836 claims for the entire week ending March 14. Claims so far this week have increased every day. On Monday, 846 claims were filed; 1,994 claims were filed Tuesday; and 3,146 were filed Wednesday.

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